The bust of César Chávez in the Oval Office speaks as much about this new administration as it does about the media praising Joe Biden’s “Latinist” condescension. It is to be expected that the traditional media uses half-baked information, but not from the person who holds the most important office in the country.
The use of celebrities is something recurrent in politics as part of the narrative, but to really understand what Joe Biden’s use of Chávez’s figure means, it is necessary to go to the facts.
César Chávez, beyond the myth
Chávez founded the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) that sought to improve the working conditions and wages of the working class. In 1965, he initiated the Delano Grape Strike at the initiative of Filipino workers who were demanding higher wages. They forced this diatribe for five years, finally achieving contracts that would assure better wages and a health plan.
Chávez took on a battle for a sector of society that was not being properly remunerated and recognized. Eric Foner and John Garrity write that he dedicated his life to changing “squalid immigrant camps, corrupt labor contractors, meager wages for backbreaking work, and bitter racism. He also spoke out against “La Raza,” whom he called “racists.”
Chávez was also opposed to illegal immigration. About these, he said he was “against illegals, no matter where they work, because if they don’t break the strike, they are taking our jobs.”
But Chávez also had negative aspects, such as his terrible treatment of volunteers: “Those of us who worked in boycott operations worked 14 to 16 hours a day, often 7 days a week. We were paid $5 a week and had to beg for donated food to eat.” He also referred to farm workers as “pigs.”
The ignorance of the media
Chávez’s trajectory makes it clear that, in reality, he was frontally opposed to everything that Joe Biden defends from the Office where the union leader has his bust. Biden, who wants to legalize eleven million illegal immigrants and strengthen sanctuary cities is the antonym of what Chávez proposed for America. In the face of this inconsistency, the media deliberately remains silent and cheers with rampant hypocrisy.
On Telemundo’s Un Nuevo Día it was stated that “Today, [Latinos] not only have a seat at the table, we have a place in the Oval Office”. About Chávez, they stated that he “fought so hard” for Latinos -but the network does not mention that he also fought against them.
Media such as Telemundo or Univision are silent about the union leader’s positions and take advantage of half-truths to justify Joe Biden’s ignorance. The hypocrisy of the Latino media and Joe Biden denigrates Hispanics in the U.S. and ignores key figures in American history such as former California Governor Romualdo Pacheco.
Romualdo Pacheco, on the other hand, did not have an attitude close to that of Chávez, but he did have similar -or even greater- adversities. Pacheco, who lived during the Civil War, fiercely opposed the inhumane treatment that Southern Democrats inflicted on African-Americans who still lived under the slave system.
Also in 1863, Governor Stanford commissioned Romualdo Pacheco as a brigadier general in the California state militia to command Hispanic troops in the First Brigade of the Native California Cavalry. In addition, through his relationships, Romualdo facilitated communications with President Benito Juárez and his California emissaries in support of the war against French invasion in 1864.
Pacheco was also the first -and only- Hispanic governor of California. During his tenure, he “stressed the importance of higher education and worked for the development of the University of California and the State Normal School in San Francisco.”
He helped, in his extensive legislative career, to balance the rights of landowners in California with an enterprise to protect and expand the ports and railroads that were the economic lifeblood of his remote Western district. In addition, he was iron-fisted about immigration that did not conform to American cultural standards -a key issue for a nation.
About Chinese immigrants in California he stated, “[Those Chinese immigrants] mainly single men brought to work in railroad and mining operations, were taking jobs from white workers and degrading the moral character of California cities.” Similarly, he expounded on the cultural incompatibility between these two nations considering that Chinese culture is “unaltered, immutable, fixed, as immovable as the decrees of destiny.”
Romualdo Pacheco, while strongly denouncing the cultural inflows coming into his country, never denigrated these new communities. On the contrary, he constantly defended the nation that welcomed him in the beginning, and always sought to keep its social fabric strong.